UK on Wednesday announced 10 million pounds funding for a joint research project with Indian institutes to boost India's internet capabilities with rural access to broadband and health monitoring systems among others.
The project aims to develop solutions that can scale to benefit the lives of millions of users as well as the digital economy in both countries.
The funding – considered one of the largest for any project between the two countries – was announced by universities and science minister David Willetts during a meeting with science and technology minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Wednesday.
The 10 million pounds investment will support the second phase of research into next generation telecommunications networks – the development of state-of-the-art platforms and applications that will carry voice, video and data in the future on the Internet.
The project involves the employment of 200 scientists.
The research is a key part of the work of the India-UK Advanced Technology Centre (IU-ATC), a collaborative programme funded by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), India's Department of Science and Technology (DST) and industrial partners in both countries.
The funding will allow the Centre to focus its efforts to develop low-cost solutions for rural access to broadband, improved use of available spectrum as well as applications for rural health monitoring, emergency and disaster communications, social TV-Virtual Classrooms and other services.
The ultimate aim of the IU-ATC is to develop solutions that can scale to benefit the lives of millions of users as well as the Digital Economy in both the UK and India, the Foreign Office said.
The principal investigators for the project are Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and Professor Gerard Parr of the University of Ulster.
Ulster is the lead UK institution in a consortium of nine research-leading UK universities including the University of Surrey, Lancaster University, Queen Mary, University of London, Southampton University, University of St Andrews, University College London, University of Bristol, and the University of Cambridge.
They are joined by seven IITs: IIT Madras (Lead), IIT Delhi, IIT Mumbai, IIT Mandi, IIT Kanpur, IIT Hyderabad, and IISc Bangalore.
Announcing details of the funding boost, Willetts said: "This 10 million pounds investment will build on the UK's excellent record of research collaboration with India.
"It will bring together leading universities and institutes from both countries to develop technological solutions to a range of important issues, from rural health to disaster response."
Liam Blackwell, Head of EPSRC's ICT Theme said: "This next phase of the India-UK Advanced Technology Centre project is expected to contribute to leading edge international collaboration in ICT research which will benefit both countries and develop their capabilities."
The first phase of the joint research initiative started in June 2009 with 5 million pounds funding from EPSRC-DST and 4.2 pounds million co-funding from industry and academic partners in both countries.
The three high level research activity areas within the IU-ATC are: Applications and Services; Core Network Systems and Protocols; Heterogeneous Wireless Access Networks.